May 20, 2005: Headlines: COS - Micronesia: City Government: Gainesville Sun: Micronesia RPCV Jack Donovan values cohesive community as Commissioner

Peace Corps Online: State: Florida: February 8, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Florida : May 20, 2005: Headlines: COS - Micronesia: City Government: Gainesville Sun: Micronesia RPCV Jack Donovan values cohesive community as Commissioner

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Micronesia RPCV Jack Donovan values cohesive community as Commissioner

Micronesia RPCV Jack Donovan values cohesive community as Commissioner

Micronesia RPCV Jack Donovan values cohesive community as Commissioner

Commissioner Donovan values cohesive community

Sun staff writer

May 20. 2005 6:01AM

During a recent Gainesville City Commission meeting, Jack Donovan stood outside the City Hall Auditorium for more than half an hour listening to representatives of Alachua County municipalities voice their concerns about Gainesville's future annexation plans.

Though not yet a city commissioner, and unable to do anything for their situation, Donovan said the experience was valuable.

"I was very curious just to learn how the leaders of the different municipalities felt after that meeting," said Donovan, 61.

Learning about the views of other politicians, and the workings of city government, have occupied much of his time since he won a City Commission seat.

Donovan defeated incumbent Commissioner Tony Domenech in the April 19 City Commission election, and was sworn in Thursday along with incumbent Commissioners Ed Braddy and Rick Bryant to three-year terms. Donovan will serve on the commission as a representative of District 2, which covers most of southwest Gainesville.

"I think that I am one of the commissioners now that puts a very high value on having a very strong, cohesive trusting community," Donovan said.

Now a chaplain for Hospice of North Central Florida, Donovan has held a variety of both secular and religious positions. In Gainesville, he served as the minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for 17 years and has spent the last year as pastor at the McIntosh Presbyterian Church.

He is not without experience in areas of planning and community development. In addition to earning a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University, Donovan has also served in a variety of positions including as a redevelopment expert with the U.S. military in Vietnam and a U.S. Peace Corps community developer in Micronesia.

With the Unitarian church, Donovan gained a reputation for fiery political sermons with a liberal bent and has said spiritual and worldly service are connected.

Donovan devoted his swearing-in speech Thursday to discussing the spiritual requirements to help those in need, citing Jewish, Christian and Confucianist sources.

"The real point is that we're a community and we need to treat everybody well in that community," Donovan said after the ceremony. "If everybody is given full opportunity for growth in our community we're going to have one heck of a place to live."

To advance these goals, Donovan has focused on achieving a more compassionate attitude toward those less well off and on better comprehensive planning for Gainesville.

A well-planned city will eliminate complaints of both developers and neighborhoods by clearly establishing where and what kind of development the city wants, Donovan has said. It will also minimize conflicts caused when developments are placed near properties that are not compatible and help encourage investment in underdeveloped areas of the city, he has said.

Jon Reiskind, chairman of the Alachua County Democratic Executive Committee, which supported Donovan, said the commissioner is a "passionate, empathetic and sympathetic person," partially due to his spiritual work.

But Stafford Jones, chairman of the Alachua County Republican Executive Committee, which supported Domenech, said he worried that adding Donovan to the commission would maintain the status quo. Donovan, he said, shares many of the views of the commission majority.

But Reiskind said Donovan would help improve the atmosphere of City Hall and be a good addition to the commission.

"I'm looking forward to a commission that has been receptive as it has in the past to citizen input," Reiskind said. "I hope it is both thoughtful and decisive, I'm very optimistic. I think Commissioner Donovan is going to bring his people skills with him."

When this story was posted in May 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Gainesville Sun

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Micronesia; City Government



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